A North East manufacturer has boosted its workforce by recruiting eight apprentices - and will soon bring another four on board.
Working in partnership with the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC), MCPS Limited has signed-up the apprentices into various sections of the workforce on a rolling programme over the last few years.
All of the new learners are based in the company’s South Shields base.
MCPS Ltd has over 10 years manufacturing and design experience in providing comprehensive cathodic protection and marine growth prevention systems to the marine, offshore oil and gas, offshore wind farms and marine civil industries.
MCPS HR manager, John Clafton, said: “The training programmes delivered by the NECC are well suited to both our needs as an employer and the apprentice’s needs as the learner.
“The current apprentices are all of an extremely high calibre and are progressing well – their mentoring through the NECC is of a high quality.”
The company currently has eight apprentices working at the plant, and is recruiting another four through the NECC for various engineering and office-based roles.
“MCPS is fully committed to apprenticeships,” said Lindsey Thornton, NECC regional training manager for engineering.
“They have already arranged to take two learners on to their books full-time this year, once they have completed their apprenticeships.
“Like many other companies which support apprenticeships, MCPS has been able to employ high-quality learners that can be specifically shaped to fit the needs of the business.
“Not only does this provide well-skilled and accountable employees – it also gives learners first-hand industry experience and valued employability skills.”
A survey for the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) found that 92% of companies felt an apprenticeship programme provided them with better motivated staff and increased job satisfaction.
Around 74% of employers also said apprentices tended to be more loyal, remaining at the company longer than non-apprentices.
Through its Proud to Back Apprenticeships campaign, the Journal is calling on more businesses throughout the region to consider the route as a means not only of giving young people crucial opportunities to launch their careers, but ultimately to help close the skills gap that is of particular concern within the manufacturing and engineering sectors.
Recent research suggests that thousands of skilled people across the North East will be retiring from engineering before 2016, posing a considerable threat to the industry and risking a potential impact on the supply chain.
Apprenticeships are available across most industry areas.
The NECC offer various levels of apprenticeship, which are uniquely designed to fit in with the needs of both the business and the learner. The programmes are delivered with a flexible approach, aimed at complete business and learner satisfaction.
Thornton added: “MCPS is a great example of a company fully-engaged in the skills agenda, but not enough local firms and organisations are backing apprenticeships.
“Over 8,500 skilled people across the North East are due to retire from the sector before 2016.
“This means considerable danger is being posed to industry, with many companies reaching full capacity in their ability to recruit and deliver.”
NECC and its partners are actively encouraging larger companies to pass on this message to suppliers that do not actively encourage skills development within their organisations.